The Elementary Class
“To consider the school as a place where instruction is given is one point of view. But, to consider the school as a preparation for life is another. In the latter case, the school must satisfy all the needs of life.”
The young child explores the world and understands it with her senses, but the elementary child explores the world and seeks to understand it by using her mind, using memory, imagination and reason. Children this age are entering what Montessori recognized as the second plane of development. This age is characterized by three emerging traits: the transition to abstract reasoning, a strong urge for justice and morality, and the drive to explore the natural and social environments. They love to research and explore, to socialize and to use their imaginations.
With an individualized work plan and the abundant elementary Montessori materials each student can develop his own interests as well as master of basic skills and knowledge, including: math facts, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, sentence analysis, creative and expository writing, and library research. In addition, the WSMS elementary learning environment provides deeper education experiences in the areas of mathematics (including algebra and geometry), language, science and technology, the world of myth, great literature, history, geography, biology, art, music, foreign language, and physical education. Students have opportunities to plan, monitor and assess their own work, thereby further developing their independence, and responsibility for their own actions.
The lower elementary class is for children ranging in age from 6-9 years old. Social development and deep learning occur as the older children model and teach the younger children in collaborative projects. Lessons are presented in all areas individually and in groups. Problem solving and reasoning skills grow along with personal responsibility and self-respect.
The Upper Elementary class is made up of children ranging in age from 9 -12 years. At the Upper Elementary level children are ready for more abstraction and advance work, especially in the areas of science, history and math. Problem solving, accountability and critical thinking skills are honed. The students’ works and projects stem from more complex lessons that leave questions to be answered by the child. The students make use of the outside community’s resources by visiting places such as museums, galleries, natural areas, and other facilities. These activities are planned and carried out by the students helping them develop responsibility and community. Service learning consists of volunteering in younger classrooms, or at local facilities such as the Food Bank, and participation in local efforts such as Cleanup Columbia Day.